Destiny plays in funny ways, sometimes you just have to miss certain things in order to achieve what’s best destined for you. Before more than 115K subscribers and followers, Akshay Chaudhary was a regular middle class boy striving to make his way into playing cricket at the highest level. So, how did a regular Delhi boy come on to become one of the biggest sensations in the fantasy cricket industry? Let’s find out from the man himself in a candid chat with FanBlaze, Fantasy Counsel a.k.a Akshay tells us his side of the story:
How was Akshay Chaudhary as a kid?
Growing up in New Delhi, youngest in my family I was your boy next door who dreams of making it big in life. The cricket bug had bitten me since then and thanks to my parents, I was able to play cricket for Sonnet Cricket Club, Bhim Rao Cricket Academy and many such reputed clubs in Delhi. I was doing well but then again my mother(a teacher in the Air Force School) wanted me to focus on studies as I went on for intermediate education. So, that’s when I took science and mechanical engineering further during my graduation. My mom was actually stricter than my dad (a real estate business owner) who wanted me to pursue engineering like my elder brother. Sometimes, I feel it isn’t a good thing to be a bright student (chuckles).
When engineering came, what were your early ambitions?
So when I gave my entrance exams, I got a decent rank in UPTU. That is when I started pursuing Mechanical from Galgotia college in Greater Noida. Aspirations were relatively simple to get a decent job and move to a foreign country because my elder brother was already settled in Kuwait. But to be honest somewhere at the back of my mind, I always wanted to start a business of my own since my father also was into entrepreneurship.
When did you get exposed to the world of fantasy cricket?
In 2015, I started playing on Dream11 since they were the first movers into the industry. So, I used to play a lot of grand leagues at the start but because I did not put so much time into research in the early days, I lost a lot of money. To be very honest in my 1st year since my complete focus was on GL, I hardly got any success so that was when I decided to take a break from it. I also got a job in Kuwait so I moved out of the country during the same time.
So when did times start to change and eventually led you to a breakthrough?
When I moved to Kuwait, I used to have a lot of time after my working hours since I was working from 7am to 3pm as a material planning engineer. After that, I started playing a lot of head to head leagues, my research had improved and suddenly I started winning huge amounts of money. Had I known back then there was a world of influencers, I would have begun Fantasy Counsel then only but that’s another great story which had to happen in the pandemic.
Pandemic seemed to bring the best out of you so how did Fantasy Counsel came into being?
I came back to India for my vacation in 2020. Suddenly the pandemic happened, flights were stopped and after a few months the IPL got scheduled in the month of November. My friends in the society started calling out, “Chaudhary team de!” and everybody started getting brilliant results. That was the time when I made 70-80 lakhs within a span of 2-3 months. I started getting calls from the app owners themselves that I was the first to win so much purely from small leagues. A few months before all this happened, a friend walked up to me and gave me the idea of selling teams for money. At first, I was taken aback but then I always knew I wanted to do something of my own. So, we started with a team of just 2 people on chat support, started taking promotions, making packages and astonishingly people kept turning up. The results were there to see for everybody so the word of mouth spread like wildfire. At the same time, I became a high value user and the returns turned out to be even bigger so now if you see we have more than 2.5 crores in winnings from just one fantasy app.
That’s big money! After you became this big bull of the industry, how was your experience with BalleBaazi?
I have always felt there should be a fantasy app that rewards high value users. I, being an HVU myself, love to play on BalleBaazi for a simple reason that it rewards users to play cash leagues. The more I invest I get rewards like headphones, smartphones, gadgets, deposit cash, cars, bikes and what not. I have always preferred head to head leagues, small leagues with bigger winnings and that’s why I like to go all-in on BalleBaazi. Within the first few weeks of playing only I made close to 20 lakhs on the platform and I even recommend it to my subscribers on YouTube and Telegram.
Speaking of YouTube, you weren’t the first few influencers. How did you manage to compete so well?
Yes, when I came on to YouTube I found there were so many people already on it and honestly I felt, I can do this better and provide more value than most of them. So, because I already had a loyal customer base on telegram & insta, switching to YouTube was not a big challenge. In fact we became eligible for monetization in only 14 days, it was so overwhelming because I was in Jim Corbett at the time and suddenly that mail dropped from YouTube. My team and I were so elated and thankful to all our subscribers, it was truly a motivation to keep going and create better content for all these people who have eventually become my family.
At its core, what are the values you and your company Fantasy Counsel follow?
Since the day we started, our core philosophy was to reach out to maximum users and give undivided attention to each one of them. You won’t believe we have completed more than 20,000 chats with people, sitting with them one-on-one, finding out what problems they’re having, where they are making mistakes, what are the biggest mistakes people are making while creating their fantasy teams. Today, with a relatively large team and divided verticals the process has only become smoother and more entertaining.
There still is a huge section of our society that doesn’t believe in the authenticity of the industry blaming it on luck more than skill. What’s your take on that?
Luck? Had I been ‘lucky’ I would have been in the Indian team and believe you me, all that I have won and all that I have become is purely because of my skill and knowledge. The kind of calculations, permutations, combinations, efforts, etc. go into making a team is only known to people that have consistently won money. If it was luck or fluke, you will end up losing every single time and forget about consistency. The parameters of pitch, records, player form, conditions are there and we keep an eye on all these things for a simple reason: fantasy cricket or fantasy sports in general is purely a game of skill and knowledge. People should rather spend time researching than giving out opinions on its legality.
A fantasy cricket tip you’d want to give to our readers?
Research well and plan your stakes. I think planning is really important and always play on probability. If there are 30 matches in a month, you think you’ll win big in all 30 but that is never the case, target at least 15 or 20 matches where you must ace, because even if you lose a few you’ll always remain in profit. Manage your bankroll and try to become a high value user as early as possible. Play small leagues and elevate yourself so that you can invest more and get even bigger returns in small leagues. BalleBaazi does have a lot of leagues where you can achieve the same with ease.